x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Yamadayev murder convicts freed after serving time

Two men who helped in the assassination of the Chechen warlord in Dubai have returned to Tajikistan and Iran.

DUBAI // Two men convicted of aiding in the assassination of Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai have flown back to their home countries, officials said today.

The Tajik convict Maksud Jan and the Iranian Mehdi Lornia were sent to their respective countries on July 3 after serving 27 months in the Dubai Central Jail, an official from the Tajikistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi told The National.

Dubai police arrested them in April 2009 after Mr Yamadayev was shot to death in the basement car park of his Jumeirah Beach Residence building on March 28, 2009, in an assassination that is thought to have been politically motivated.

The men were convicted in April last year at Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance and sentenced to life in prison by Judge Hamad Abdel Latif. They were also convicted of possessing an unlicensed weapon, a gold-plated 9mm Stechkin APS, thought to be the weapon that killed Mr Yamadayev.

But in December, Judge Mahmood Al Shinawi of Dubai Court of Appeals resentenced the two men to three years in jail. After the verdict, Judge Al Shinawi said the decision was a result of Mr Yamadayev's family presenting a full pardon to the convicts.

On November 10, the family presented to the court their letter of pardon dropping their right to implement the al qasas retributive punishment.

The National was provided a copy of the letter, which officially drops the family's right to al qasas, or retributive punishment. It was signed by the Yamadayev family executor, Isa Yamadayev, and stated "the family relinquished their right to retributive punishment in any criminal or civil claim related to the case, and are not pursuing any financial compensation or blood money from anyone involved, including suspects still sought by Interpol".

Dubai Police and Interpol are hunting for seven suspects, including former Russian Duma member Adam Delimkhanov.

Maksud Jan confessed to agreeing to help with the murder after being offered US$100,000 (Dh367,000) by two men he said were named Salman and Torpal.

Jan told officers one of the suspects told him to rent a car and tail Yamadayev. After a few days, he was introduced to a person named Ramzan, and a second person named Zulimkhan.

He told officers that on the day of the murder, he and Salman proceeded to the Jumierah Beach Residence block where Mr Yamadayev lived and scouted the location for a few hours. They then waited at a nearby cafe.

When they spotted Mr Yamadayev's car driving by, they called Ramzan to inform him.

Jan said that after returning to his flat on Rigga Street, he received a call from Salman telling him to take Zulimkhan to the airport. He said he also received confirmation that the "operation" was successful.

Jan added that later the same day, he drove Ramzan and Torpal to the airport.

Another police investigator told prosecutors Mehdi Lornia had also confessed and said he had full knowledge of the plot after he allegedly heard Mr Delimkhanov speak ill of Yamadayev, saying, "He must die."

Lornia told investigators Mr Delimkhanov handed him a briefcase with the murder weapon and a fully loaded magazine.

amustafa@thenational.ae